My Shih Tzu has severe anxiety issues! I need help!
(Island Park, NY)
My Shih Tzu, Gizmo, is 12.5 years old. His anxiety issues are becoming out of control. When we first got him, we had another dog, a shepherd/collie mix.
Spike died when Gizmo was 5, and, of course, that's when we started noticing his anxieties. I guess Spike took care of that before. At first, it was just thunder and fireworks. He would scratch at things, try to climb the walls, and get himself stuck in hard to reach places.
The separation anxiety wasn't as bad then maybe because we both worked, but the house still was fuller because my kids were often home when not in school. However, my anxiety if there was a storm while I was at work was pretty out of control. I lost my job about a year or so ago, and now he's anxious almost every time I leave. While he still gets anxious over thunder & fireworks, it's become easier to comfort him if we're home just by acting like everything is normal.
But when we're not home, he gets destructive. We give him a Xanex every morning, but it wears off, and if we have to go somewhere at night, which we often do, he starts acting nuts. I really don't want to start giving it to him 2x a day.
He doesn't really get along with other dogs so it's hard to get people to watch him if we go away; so we pretty much don't. Getting another dog at this point is out of the question since my husband, though he loves our dog like crazy, is done!
Did I mention, that he shakes so hard he looks like he's going to have a heart attack? (Gizmo, not my husband!) Another thing, God forbid, the smoke detector goes off or just the battery indicator warning beeps, it takes a couple of hours to calm him down. If that happens when I'm not home....
Things we've tried besides Xanex...leaving an article of clothing, giving him a treat every time we leave, having play time before leaving, leaving a soothing music channel on, the Thundershirt....HELP!